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Biggest Day 2 Winners And Losers In The 2022 NFL Draft

David Becker. Getty Images.

Did the winners-losers thing on this on yesterday's first round, and you can read it right here. It was yet another wild night at the 2022 NFL Draft. I don't know if I've ever seen a more bizarre year than this, so let's waste no time and dive right into it.

Winner: Wide receivers slash trades AGAIN!

What is this, Groundhog Day?

SEVEN wide receivers flew off the board in the first 22 picks in Round 2. In the opening round, we had six in the top 18, and several of those came via trades. It was an eerily similar story on Friday evening.

Kicking everything off: — OF ALL TEAMS!!!!!!! — the Green Bay Packers. They dealt away both of their second-round selections to vault all the way to 34th for North Dakota State wideout Christian Watson. He's the type of big-ass dude on the outside Green Bay covets, but he's extremely quick and speedy for being 6-foot-4. Aaron Rodgers has to be a happy man. 

If you switched the draft positions of linebacker Quay Walker (22) and Watson, the whole discourse about the Packers over the last 24 hours would've been drastically different. Everyone was rightfully bashing them for not getting Rodgers a weapon on Thursday. And then…

Giphy Images.

The Giants picked up a potential Kadarius Toney replacement in Kentucky slot specialist Wan'Dale Robinson. That seemed like a slight reach to me. I don't think I'll question the newly-arrived regime from Buffalo for now, though. Houston moved up for Alabama's John Metchie III. Like his ex-Tide teammate Jameson Williams, Metchie is coming off a torn ACL. Provided he can get that knee right, he's a great route-runner and explosive player who'll open up Houston's passing attack.

Oh yeah…and BILL BELICHICK DRAFTED A RECEIVER. He traded up to do it! The Hoodie made a power play for Baylor speedster Tyquan Thornton. Between him and Cole Strange, Belichick's first two selections came multiple rounds before most were expecting them. I'm fascinated to see how they work out. I'm not ready to hand Belichick the "L" on Thornton because at least he TRIED to go after the position that's haunted him in the draft for all these years. I will say: I'm pretty sure he's SHOOK about Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle being in Miami and that this likely reach for Thornton was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to that.

Then, picks 52, 53 and 54 were all receivers: Georgia's George Pickens (Steelers), Cincinnati's Alec Pierce (Colts) and Western Michigan's Skyy Moore (Chiefs). My head is still spinning.

Loser: QUARTERBACKS LOL WTF

To sum it up in a single tweet and accompanying image:

Here's the damage:

  • Atlanta Falcons: Round 3, Pick 74 — Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
  • Tennessee Titans: Round 3, Pick 86 — Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
  • Carolina Panthers: Round 3, Pick 95 — Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

That's how ugly it was. QBs always have their draft stocks inflated due to the nature and massive impact of the position they play. Couldn't be further from how things played out in 2022. The widespread belief in the media was an early Day 2 run on quarterbacks. NONE went in the second round. When I said in the intro I've never seen anything like this draft, this is one of the aspects I'm talking about. And probably the most notable.

Off-field red flags dinged Corral's stock. In Ridder's case, I mean, he was a four-year starter at Cincinnati, has a dual-threat capabilities, and pretty much checks every box. He just doesn't make you go, "WOW!"  Willis' lack of experience in a pro-style offense and rawness to his all-around game hurt him. However, he has the highest ceiling of any of these guys. 

It'll be hilarious when two of these prospects absolutely blow up, or UNC's Sam Howell gets drafted on Day 3 and winds up being the best of them all! At this point who knows. The Steelers' Kenny Pickett went 20th overall and was the only QB picked in the top 73.

Way too early to look ahead to the 2023 draft. I know. Nevertheless, players like Ohio State's C.J. Stroud and Alabama's Bryce Young, among several others, certainly factored into all this year's signal-callers crashing down draft boards.

Winner: Uber-talented pass-rusher David Ojabo

On the final play at his Michigan pro day, the would-be first-rounder tore his Achilles. Ojabo had to wait around longer than expected for his name to be called. And you'll never guess who did it. That's right. The franchise that seems to absolutely slay the draft every single year and scoop up sliding players who have no business lasting that long: The Baltimore Ravens.

Provided Ojabo comes back OK and makes a full recovery, I can only imagine how much of a handful he'll be starting on the edge opposite 2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh. Those are two of the biggest athletic freakazoids you'll see in the NFL at stand-up outside linebacker. Both still have so much upside to unlock. Congrats to Baltimore. You did it AGAIN with Ojabo, who's a one-year starter and broke out with 12 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in 2021.

Ojabo became the third member of what's shaping up to be an exceptional Ravens draft class led by Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum. SHEESH that's good.

Loser: Ed Marinaro's Under Podium Time prop

The reason I chose to view this imaginary bet through a glass-half-empty lens is simple: I thought it was ridiculous. Absolute clown show. No place for it. Please get the fuck off my TV screen. NEXT.

Marinaro is a former Heisman Trophy runner-up who was drafted by the Vikings, played in the NFL for a time, and then wound up being an actor. He starred as a football coach in the TV show Blue Mountain State. To say this man overstayed his welcome when announcing Minnesota's 42nd overall pick would be the understatement of the league year.

Giphy Images.

Poor Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. He not only fell out of the first round, but then he had to sit through an agonizing wait until this guy was finished yammering on. Cringe-inducing to watch in full.

Loser: Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields

I enjoyed Hot Ones YouTube host Sean Evans stepping up to the podium and doing the exact opposite of what Marinaro did. He killed it. Having said that, Evans announced Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker as Chicago's second Day 2 selection (No. 48), which was preceded by the pick of Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon at 39th.

Gordon and Brisker are fine prospects, and the secondary was a need. However, with the way the board was falling, I felt like the Bears could've done, you know, something a little more to help its hopeful franchise QB out. Fields saw his only truly viable wide receiver, Allen Robinson, race away from the Windy City in favor of the Rams in free agency. Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown and Byron Pringle is a pretty fucking brutal trio on the perimeter.

The reactions from the Twittersphere really say it all. Here's a mere sample of what we saw:

To be at least a little fair to the new Chicago regime, they didn't have a first-rounder to work with due to last year's move up to land Fields in the first place. It's just that, you look at all the other teams helping their QBs out early on Day 2 with shiny toys and the second-year passer gets absolutely nothing.

That is, until the Bears selected Tennessee receiver Velus Jones Jr. with the 71st pick. Maybe he's decent…but think about this: Jones began his college football playing odyssey at USC in 2016. You read that right. Four years there, followed by two with the Volunteers. I don't make as much of age as some do when it comes to draft prospects but…

Winner: Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Ryan

Everyone loves to dap up Colts GM Chris Ballard for literally every move he makes, even as he's misfired TERRIBLY on quarterbacks every single year during his tenure. I think he's onto something with Matty Ice under center, even though the longtime Falcons field general is past his prime. 

Ryan had to be pleased with what he saw on Friday. Indianapolis got tremendous value on Central Michigan left tackle Bernhard Raimann in the third round at Pick 77. It's not outlandish to say Raimann could beat out Matt Pryor for the starting spot. As other teams moved up for wideouts in a frenzy, Ballard held steady and landed an excellent size-speed wide receiver in Cincinnati's Alec Pierce (6-3, 211, 4.41 40, 40.5" vert) with the 53rd overall choice.

The Bearcats star will join a receiving corps with another big-bodied young stud in Michael Pittman Jr. as the current WR1. It seems Ryan was on board with the move:

Indy needed to upgrade its firepower at tight end, too — and did so with 6-foot-7, 260-pound Jelani Woods out of Virginia. He ran a 4.61 40 at the Combine at that size after hauling in 44 receptions for 598 yards and eight TDs this past season.  Even local media, who've been tough on Ballard for his QB woes, is feeling these picks:

Loser: Free-falling linebacker Nakobe Dean

After watching five defensive teammates of his from the University of Georgia get drafted in the first round, a couple more Bulldogs came off the board in the next pair of rounds while Butkus Award winner and Unanimous All-American Nakobe Dean could only sit and watch.

What was to blame for Dean? Medical concerns.

The Philadelphia Eagles finally got Dean with the 83rd pick. He's got the upside to be the heart and soul of the Eagles defense. Unfortunately, Dean's undersized stature and narrative about long-term health concerns kind of dampen hopes that he'll ever fulfill his promise on the gridiron in the NFL.

Dean is outstanding when he drops in coverage, has no issue shedding blocks or diagnosing plays versus the run, and even picked up six sacks last year predominantly as a dynamic blitzer. I hope he pans out, because Dean is one of the most electrifying defenders in the draft when he's not injured.

One cool little nugget about Dean's final destination: He's reunited with Jordan Davis, who the Eagles traded up to 13 for.

Winner: The trio of teams who hit the accelerator on their rebuilds

We'll end with a bang here. They may not be widely discussed as winners. They're not necessarily in a position to win now, nor are they expected to by most outside their respective buildings. But the teams I want to underscore are the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans and New York Jets.

Houston did a despicable tanking job last season and I'm kinda still salty toward that organization. Still, I can't deny what the Texans have done in the draft is remarkable. After making my year with Derek Stingley Jr. and wisely getting a versatile o-lineman in Kenyon Green, they traded up for two Bama products in the aforementioned receiver Metchie and linebacker Christian Harris. They also came out of Day 2 with Baylor safety/slot corner Jalen Pitre. Longtime Texans reporter John McClain is as straight of a shooter as you'll get, and he's fully aboard the Pitre hype train:

I'm not a huge fan of how raw Harris is. Still, he got to learn defense under Nick Saban, so that has to count for something. Beyond Harris, I don't know how Houston could've done much better.

I think damn near everyone's buying into the notion that the Jets ROBBED the league blind with their Day 1 of Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson and Jermaine Johnson. They picked up right where they left off, shooting up the board for another playmaker in Iowa State tailback Breece Hall. GM Joe Douglas is SENDING IT and I'm here for absolutely all of it.

The Jets spent a third-round compensatory choice on Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert to wrap up. Ruckert joins a suddenly-stacked position group led by ex-Bengal CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, who had 61 receptions for the Vikings this past year. Safe to say Gang Green gunslinger Zach Wilson is in prime position for a Year 2 leap.

Finally, to bring it on home, we have the Falcons. They did not overextend themselves for a QB. They rode it out, and Desmond Ridder fell into their lap. He has a similar skill set to current starter Marcus Mariota. The fit couldn't be much better. Getting such strong value at the most critical position is a huge win in and of itself.

Then you look at what else Atlanta did. To aid its perpetually ailing pass rush, they landed Penn State stud Arnold Ebiketie and traded up to do it. He compiled 18 tackles for loss and nine sacks last season. Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen may not have moved the needle for most casual NFL fans. Look at how historically athletic and versatile he is:

Another smaller-school prospect capped off the Falcons' Friday at Pick 82: Western Kentucky EDGE DeAngelo Malone. I Over the past four seasons, Malone accrued 59 TFL, 31 sacks, and eight forced fumbles. Cherry on top: He was born in Atlanta.

I feel like I'm always so bored with Falcons drafts. They rarely do anything interesting and were hamstrung by Ryan's massive contract in recent years. They've got a new energy about them now of late. Kyle Pitts was the crown jewel of their 2021 class. This 2022 group is shaping up to be a special one, led by eighth overall pick, USC wideout Drake London.

What do you think? Are the Jets going to soar to new heights? Or is the AFC East too tough? Can the Falcons ascend to second in the NFC South? And what do you make of the new-look Texans in the bizarro AFC South? Sound off in the comments about your biggest winners and losers from Day 2! I'll leave you with some Troy Andersen highlights so you can see his serious moves. Kind of sad I wasn't higher on him coming in!